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I have an Invention ... Now What?
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   I need help
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Chris D Black
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I need help
« on: Jun 28th, 2005, 4:02am »
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Hi im 20 years old and am a college student majoring in finance and resort tourism and plan on attending law school after i graduate.  My dream is to become an entrepreneur some day and do my own thing.  Anyway about every day I come up with ideas on how to fullfill my dream and have crazy ideas about products or ideas(most unfeasible or just not good). However recently an idea hit me that I believe would revolutionize a certain industry.  I just have some questions.  I'm having trouble trying to put my question/comments into words so bare with me..
 
Basicly I want to take an aspect of two industrys and put them together ..It's not exactly a product its more of a service i guess you could say. can you obtain a patent for that?
 
What I guess I dont understand is if someone created the idea of videogames for example how can someone else copy that idea? was that not patened?
 
It just seems that almost everything that has been made has been copied but just done in a different way.  If you can explain why thats able to be done thatd help.
 
I guess my fear is that even if I'm the first one to think up of the idea and have it patened and I take the idea to a company(becuase I can't perform the idea by myself because I dont have the recources) they will just copy the idea but do it a different way( like the videogame example)..could this happen?
 
 
 
Thanks for any information/advice sorry if this seems a bit confusing.
 
ps If you advise me to see a lawyer about it how can I find a good one that wont potentially screw it up?
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JSonnabend
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Re: I need help
« Reply #1 on: Jun 28th, 2005, 8:06am »
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Quote:
What I guess I dont understand is if someone created the idea of videogames for example how can someone else copy that idea?

It's hard to answer general questions such as "if someone has patented video games, how can someone else copy the idea".  Each patent protects specific things, as defined by the patent claims.  Without reviewing the claims and supporting materials, the question simply can't be answered in any meaningful way.
 
That said, if a patent covers some "idea", that "idea" can't be copied.  Of course, an "idea" in this context means a useful idea, not a scientific concept per se.
 
Quote:
I guess my fear is that even if I'm the first one to think up of the idea and have it patened and I take the idea to a company(becuase I can't perform the idea by myself because I dont have the recources) they will just copy the idea but do it a different way( like the videogame example)..could this happen?

Depending on the conditions surrounding your disclosure to the company, your fears may be well founded.  Under many circumstances, they wouldn't even need to "do it in a different way".
 
- Jeff
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SonnabendLaw
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JimIvey
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Re: I need help
« Reply #2 on: Jun 28th, 2005, 1:48pm »
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Just to slightly augment what Jeff has already said, patents cover exactly what they say they cover -- in the claims.  As the applicant, you draft the claims and make them cover what you want them to cover.  Of course, you won't get a patent with those claims unless you can convince the US Patent and Trademark Office that your claims meet the requirements of US patent law.
 
So, just how different something can be and still infringe is outlined in pain-staking detail in each patent.
 
As for videogames, they were and are covered by many patents.  Your question seems to assume that, if they were covered by patents, videogames wouldn't exist.  Quite the contrary, if infringing things don't ever make it to the marketplace, nobody makes any money from patents.  Then patents wouldn't exist either.  A symbiant that kills its host isn't long for this world.
 
Okay, my spell checker doesn't like "symbiant" -- I've watched way too much Star Trek.
 
Regards.
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James D. Ivey
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Chris D Black
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Re: I need help
« Reply #3 on: Jun 28th, 2005, 1:53pm »
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What would be the best way to protect against having the idea "stolen." This is something I wouldn't want to give the company the idea and than theyd be like wow yea thats a good idea but we dont need you for that.(even though they might not ever think of the idea unless I told them, so how would they be able to do that).
 
Would a "good" patent help protect against this.
 
What my idea is on a more specific scale is taking one industry idea and incorporating it into another industry that has yet to be tryed yet. patentable?
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JimIvey
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Re: I need help
« Reply #4 on: Jun 28th, 2005, 2:09pm »
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The two candidates that come to mind are patents and trade secrets.  Trade secrets are generally considered easier to lose and more difficult to maintain and enforcement requires both the cooperation of the other side (to enter into contract) and enforcement of the contract (identity of the leak of information can sometimes be difficult to track and tie to the other party).  However, they can last forever whereas patents last only a limited time.
 
I do patents so I'm inclined to recommend them -- even if for no other reason than I understand them better than trade secrets.
 
The real answer depends on your particular circumstances.  If it's really valuable to you, go see an attorney and get specific advice you can rely on.
 
As I've posted recently, when it comes to legal advice, you get what you pay for.  And the advice you find here is worth every penny you paid for it!  Wink
 
Regards.
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James D. Ivey
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